John Tory will be the next mayor of Toronto. It says something about the rest of the results from yesterday’s municipal election that, this morning, on the day after, I’m largely ambivalent about our new mayor-elect.
Throughout the campaign people I respect told me John Tory would be just fine. Give him a chance, they said. Let him find his sea legs and see what he can do before passing judgement.
So be it.
This morning I’ll choose to believe the John Tory we’ll see emerge as mayor of Toronto will be the John Tory his supporters told us he’d be. Sensible and a consensus builder. Moderate. A healer of our self-inflicted civic wounds.
I say that without a hint of sarcasm or mockery. If John Tory proves to be any of those things, Toronto will be better for it.
I am far less sanguine about the new shape of city council. And by ‘new shape’ I mean the exact opposite, of course.
A resounding number of terrible, terrible, terrible incumbents were re-elected last night with no refreshing or inspiring newcomers figuring into the mix.
Wishful thinking, I think. Pitched battles, I imagine, are already being dreamed up over the fate of rapid transit throughout Scarborough, the island airport expansion, the 2015 budget. Ohhh, the 2015 budget. While the discourse should become more civil around the council chambers, expect little elevation in content, judgment or common sense. I fear we’ve entrenched parochialism not diminished it.
In case you think I’m sitting here, pointing fingers at others, assigning blame in that direction, that is not my intention. Perhaps the most egregious bit of wishful thinking over the past 4 years was perpetrated by people like me. People who thought that simply by highlighting and talking and writing about the bad behaviour and decisions being done by our local representatives, a wave of change would be fomented. The need for it would simply be self-evident. I mistakenly assumed the clamour for change at the mayoral level would permeate down through the council ranks and sweep out a few of the worst offenders.
You’d think by now I’d be aware enough to know that change doesn’t happen easily. When it comes, if it comes, it comes reluctantly, grudgingly, obstinately. Change is an active not passive verb.
So to imagine that voters would simply be in the mood to throw the bums out with very little prodding was beyond hopeful. It was beyond magical subways for free thinking.
How many times have we heard the complaint around these parts, Where is our Nenshi? To use the parlance of our transit debates, Nenshis don’t sprout up out of nowhere from magic beans. The ground has to be fertile from many hands working the soil. If we learn no other lesson from this municipal election of ours, it should be the change we want will never be delivered from the top down with only some urging by us from the sidelines. It’s only going to happen bottom up.
Actually, there’s one more thing.
Probably the most striking visual for me from last night’s post-election coverage was Rob Ford’s speech in which he warned us that the Ford’s ‘never, ever, ever give up’. I think that may be the most truthful thing I’ve ever heard the man say. The status quo is relentless. The forces of white privilege, racism and exclusion are relentless. The apple cart is heavier than it looks and isn’t flipped with a simple gesture. We have to push back, and push back hard.
2018 doesn’t start in 2018. It starts now. Rob Ford has warned us. This time we better be ready.
— unsagely submitted by Cityslikr